Project 365 – Day 122: Annual May Day Anti-Capitalist March turns violent
May 1 2012
On May 1 in Montreal, Unions, anti-capitalist movement and others march to demonstrate support for their various grievances. These days demonstrations through the streets are nothing unusual with Quebec students entering their 12th week of boycotting classes in their fight against tuition fee hikes.
I went down to Champ de Mars where the Anti-Capitalist march was due to start at 5pm. There were probably a few thousand demonstrators gathered on the grass behind City Hall in Old Montreal under the careful watch of groups of police. I’m not sure how long the Anti-Capitalist march has been running, but I know it often ends in violence…Unfortunately tonight was to prove no different.
From rue Notre-Dame the demonstration turned down towards China Town along boulevard Saint-Laurent. The March stretched almost from boulevard René-Levesque back to Notre-Dame.
Although the odd fire cracker had been set off right at the start of the march, you could sense groups of protesters were becoming more verbal and more fireworks were beginning to be set off as the march made its way along René-Levesque to rue University.
It was when the march reached the corner of University and sainte Catherine that violence broke out. The first damage was the breaking of windows at a bank and Ailes de la Mode department store with a small group of protesters throwing projectiles at a small group of police who took refuge in doorways along rue Sainte Catherine.
At 6pm, 1 hour after the march started, the now familiar police announcement came that the gathering was now illegal and for everyone to disperse.
The Police used flash grenades to disperse the crowd followed by baton charges by the police intervention squad and mounted police along Maisonneuve and Sherbrooke streets.
I was stuck behind a police cordon on Maisonneuve, so made my way down President Kennedy and up Bleury to head home as I didn’t fancy getting arrested. When I reached Sherbrooke at the corner of Park, there had obviously been further confrontations given the debris on the road and the number of police in the vicinity. Thankfully one of my morning coffee stops – Café Imagination – appeared undamaged.
Since I was only one block away from home, I decided to call it a night. From what I hear the protesters ended up around the Berri Metro and around 100 arrests were made during the march.
The good news is that this evening’s student march was peaceful.
I will leave you with this image and wishing everyone a great and peaceful month of May. And also, many thanks to all the new followers and likes over the last few days – amazing what an inclusion on “freshly pressed” can do and I still don’t understand how posts make it on there, so if anyone can explain, please comment 🙂
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Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.